Gurdwaras and Religious Tolerance

While reading Bruce La Bracks ethnography on Sikhs in Northern California my attention was drawn to his writing on Sikh and Muslim relations in the Gurdwara. He wrote,

Muslims, particularly Punjab-born-Muslims, had regularly joined the Sikhs of California at the annual celebrations of national holidays and in welcoming dignitaries from India. There are stories told by older Sikhs about how Muslims were welcome to spread their prayer rugs in the gurdwara so long as they did not place their backs to the granth (this being no problem as the dais of the gurdwara is oriented east-west) (219).

He was referring to the Stockton Gurdwara in California prior to 1947. I admit at first I was little shocked because it debunked my own beliefs about what I was socialized to believe a Gurdwara was supposed to be. I thought the Gurdwara was only a site of worship for Sikhs. However, after I got over that, I saw the beauty in the religious tolerance and ethnic commadare in allowing the Gurdwara to also be a place of worship for Muslims as long as they respected the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I believe my Gurus would have practiced a similar peaceful religious tolerance (despite our history with Mughals) and this to some degree was an extension of that act. I wonder if we would practice a similar tolerance today in our Gurdwaras? When I think of my community, I am doubtful. Maybe its the changed socio-political backdrop of relationships between Sikhs and Muslims following partition or just the shear size of our communities in the Diaspora. What do you think? How about your community?


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35 Responses to “Gurdwaras and Religious Tolerance”

  1. Singh says:

    I think this is a very interesting observation Phulkari. I agree that there is a beauty in the tolerance that seems to have been so common in our history.

    The article made me think about something along a similar vein – allowing Musliman raagis (rabbabis) to do kirtan at Darbar Sahib (Amritsar). Pre-partition there were a number of Musliman rabbabis who were regular performers in at Darbar Sahib, but after Partition and for reasons of exclusivity the powers that be (SGPC I believe) limited who could perform kirtan to practicing Sikhs. While I am not judging the decision made – I agree that Sikhs should be encouraged to perform kirtan at darbar sahibs across the world – I wonder about the motivations behind the decision? I am inclined to defer and believe that the justification to uplift and encourage Sikhs to become more active. I don't necessarily know, but I suspect that balancing tolerance and religious identity is a hard job.

    With so many issues facing the Sikh identity in the West, I have to share your doubt about the level tolerance in gurdwaras today.

    P.S. As a paranoid/funny aside – I was just thinking of what would happen if gurdwaras were open to all types of worship – if we allowed everyone to come and worship as they please (Musliman, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, etc.) someone or everyone is bound to try and convert Sikh to their own persuasions…I can just see Christian missionaries setting up a table and passing out "guutka sahibs" with Biblical verses instead of Jap Ji Sahib!

  2. Singh says:

    I think this is a very interesting observation Phulkari. I agree that there is a beauty in the tolerance that seems to have been so common in our history.

    The article made me think about something along a similar vein – allowing Musliman raagis (rabbabis) to do kirtan at Darbar Sahib (Amritsar). Pre-partition there were a number of Musliman rabbabis who were regular performers in at Darbar Sahib, but after Partition and for reasons of exclusivity the powers that be (SGPC I believe) limited who could perform kirtan to practicing Sikhs. While I am not judging the decision made – I agree that Sikhs should be encouraged to perform kirtan at darbar sahibs across the world – I wonder about the motivations behind the decision? I am inclined to defer and believe that the justification to uplift and encourage Sikhs to become more active. I don’t necessarily know, but I suspect that balancing tolerance and religious identity is a hard job.

    With so many issues facing the Sikh identity in the West, I have to share your doubt about the level tolerance in gurdwaras today.

    P.S. As a paranoid/funny aside – I was just thinking of what would happen if gurdwaras were open to all types of worship – if we allowed everyone to come and worship as they please (Musliman, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, etc.) someone or everyone is bound to try and convert Sikh to their own persuasions…I can just see Christian missionaries setting up a table and passing out “guutka sahibs” with Biblical verses instead of Jap Ji Sahib!

  3. sonny says:

    this is really interesting, thanks for posting. i must say that i'm quite fed up with the amount of hypocrisy in our community regarding attitudes towards muslims in particular. i've heard so much anti-muslim sentiment in my family and community my whole life, which to me is very much against what sikh philosophy is about. it's great to see concrete examples of how sikhs have put the philosophy of religious equality and solidarity into practice.

  4. sonny says:

    this is really interesting, thanks for posting. i must say that i’m quite fed up with the amount of hypocrisy in our community regarding attitudes towards muslims in particular. i’ve heard so much anti-muslim sentiment in my family and community my whole life, which to me is very much against what sikh philosophy is about. it’s great to see concrete examples of how sikhs have put the philosophy of religious equality and solidarity into practice.

  5. Camille says:

    Hi Phulkari,

    It's interesting that you felt that the gurdwara is only a site for Sikhs — in my family and in our home we were taught VERY explicitly that the gurdwara is open to ALL people (although it has a specifically Sikh and seva-based purpose). While my (Bay Area) gurdwara was not always super diverse or inclusive, it was understood that it was supposed to be open so long as individuals followed specific rules of behavior (e.g., covered head, no shoes, clean selves, sober).

    My grandfather was in California in the early 1960s and describes a sense of community similar to what you mentioned — both his Hindu and Muslim classmates joined him for trips to the gurdwara. For many early desis (of all faiths) in California, gurdwaras became pan-religious community centers in addition to their specifically Sikh-focused existence. I think it's possible to retain a sense of shelter or sanctuary while not becoming a space for chaos or prosletyzation (sp?).

  6. Camille says:

    Hi Phulkari,

    It’s interesting that you felt that the gurdwara is only a site for Sikhs — in my family and in our home we were taught VERY explicitly that the gurdwara is open to ALL people (although it has a specifically Sikh and seva-based purpose). While my (Bay Area) gurdwara was not always super diverse or inclusive, it was understood that it was supposed to be open so long as individuals followed specific rules of behavior (e.g., covered head, no shoes, clean selves, sober).

    My grandfather was in California in the early 1960s and describes a sense of community similar to what you mentioned — both his Hindu and Muslim classmates joined him for trips to the gurdwara. For many early desis (of all faiths) in California, gurdwaras became pan-religious community centers in addition to their specifically Sikh-focused existence. I think it’s possible to retain a sense of shelter or sanctuary while not becoming a space for chaos or prosletyzation (sp?).

  7. Mewa Singh says:

    I think a particular historic moment is being confused with a longer tradition. Inclusivity in the terms that Camille describes has always been the case and one hopes shall always remain the case.

    However, that Muslims, today, especially most Panjabi-Muslims, would even want to worship at a Sikh Gurdwara may negate this very argument. Not just partition, but post-partition, one would have to study the tremendous religio-socio-political changes that have occurred in Pakistan.

    The early history in a new land with few other desis from then British-ruled India created a different historic situation. Ethnic solidarity was not seen as contrary to religious solidarity. Ghadar meetings and bodies were formed and held at the Gurdwaras. This was of course open to Muslims and Hindus as well. As there were no mosques and mandirs at this time, it was natural for these men to come to the Gurdwara.

    I am not trying to argue against a certain type of 'openness,' but I believe the same tradition continues today and we should not mistake a particular moment with something bigger than it actually was.

  8. Mewa Singh says:

    I think a particular historic moment is being confused with a longer tradition. Inclusivity in the terms that Camille describes has always been the case and one hopes shall always remain the case.

    However, that Muslims, today, especially most Panjabi-Muslims, would even want to worship at a Sikh Gurdwara may negate this very argument. Not just partition, but post-partition, one would have to study the tremendous religio-socio-political changes that have occurred in Pakistan.

    The early history in a new land with few other desis from then British-ruled India created a different historic situation. Ethnic solidarity was not seen as contrary to religious solidarity. Ghadar meetings and bodies were formed and held at the Gurdwaras. This was of course open to Muslims and Hindus as well. As there were no mosques and mandirs at this time, it was natural for these men to come to the Gurdwara.

    I am not trying to argue against a certain type of ‘openness,’ but I believe the same tradition continues today and we should not mistake a particular moment with something bigger than it actually was.

  9. Phulkari says:

    Camille,

    Thank you for your comments!

    When I wrote,

    I thought the Gurdwara was only a site of worship for Sikhs.

    I was not writing that non-Sikhs were not allowed into the Gurdwara I attended. That tradition of inclusivity existed at my community’s Gurdwara, as it has at others, and I too hope continues in the future. As you, I saw many non-Sikhs of other faiths enter our Gurdwara, particularly Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, and Christians as long as they abided by the etiquette you described. However, what I DID NOT see was any of those faiths actually worshiping their faith in our Gurdwara, such as doing namaz. It is this form of religious tolerance or "openess" that I am referring too. Furthermore, this is the type of religious tolerance I found beautiful in the historic moment cited by La Brack. I am doubtful I will see this form of religious tolerance take place anytime soon in my community’s Gurdwaras. Why? Some of it has a socio-political reasoning, but, for me, some of it also has to do with what our Gurdwaras have come to represent. I think our Gurdwaras are more like certain groups’ “territories” rather than a genuine door to our Guru whose home is guided by the ethos exemplified by our ten Gurus during their lives. Considering our community’s stereotypes of Muslims, I am doubtful it will work in the benefit of any Gurdwara leader to protect his “territory” by allowing Muslims to do namaz in the Gurdwara. Such an act would probably cause an uproar leading to less sangat attending that Gurdwara.

    I completely agree with you that,

    I think it’s possible to retain a sense of shelter or sanctuary while not becoming a space for chaos or prosletyzation.

    I hope our Gurdwaras move more towards that direction and learn to leave personal politics out. I am seeing small moves towards this direction, but nothing substantial to prevent me from being doubtful.

  10. Phulkari says:

    Camille,

    Thank you for your comments!

    When I wrote,

    I thought the Gurdwara was only a site of worship for Sikhs.

    I was not writing that non-Sikhs were not allowed into the Gurdwara I attended. That tradition of inclusivity existed at my communitys Gurdwara, as it has at others, and I too hope continues in the future. As you, I saw many non-Sikhs of other faiths enter our Gurdwara, particularly Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, and Christians as long as they abided by the etiquette you described. However, what I DID NOT see was any of those faiths actually worshiping their faith in our Gurdwara, such as doing namaz. It is this form of religious tolerance or “openess” that I am referring too. Furthermore, this is the type of religious tolerance I found beautiful in the historic moment cited by La Brack. I am doubtful I will see this form of religious tolerance take place anytime soon in my communitys Gurdwaras. Why? Some of it has a socio-political reasoning, but, for me, some of it also has to do with what our Gurdwaras have come to represent. I think our Gurdwaras are more like certain groups territories rather than a genuine door to our Guru whose home is guided by the ethos exemplified by our ten Gurus during their lives. Considering our communitys stereotypes of Muslims, I am doubtful it will work in the benefit of any Gurdwara leader to protect his territory by allowing Muslims to do namaz in the Gurdwara. Such an act would probably cause an uproar leading to less sangat attending that Gurdwara.

    I completely agree with you that,

    I think its possible to retain a sense of shelter or sanctuary while not becoming a space for chaos or prosletyzation.

    I hope our Gurdwaras move more towards that direction and learn to leave personal politics out. I am seeing small moves towards this direction, but nothing substantial to prevent me from being doubtful.

  11. Camille says:

    As you, I saw many non-Sikhs of other faiths enter our Gurdwara, particularly Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, and Christians as long as they abided by the etiquette you described. However, what I DID NOT see was any of those faiths actually worshiping their faith in our Gurdwara, such as doing namaz. It is this form of religious tolerance or “openess” that I am referring too.

    Hi Phulkari!

    Sorry, I clearly misunderstood! I have NEVER seen anyone do namaz in the gurdwara, and to be honest, I don't know if I think that's entirely appropriate to the purpose of the gurdwara. I guess this is the nebulous gray area between "community space" and "place of worship." Hmm, I'll have to think about it more :) I think there are positive elements in sharing community spaces, but I do think it's important that the gurdwara have a SGGS-oriented purpose. (I certainly wouldn't stop someone from praying, but at the same time, I don't know if I could imagine someone preaching, for example, in the hallway). I guess some of my hesitation is in thinking through the logistics, particularly when it comes to other faith communities (I'm not thinking specifically of Muslims, but a bit more broadly).

  12. Camille says:

    As you, I saw many non-Sikhs of other faiths enter our Gurdwara, particularly Hindus, Muslims, Catholics, and Christians as long as they abided by the etiquette you described. However, what I DID NOT see was any of those faiths actually worshiping their faith in our Gurdwara, such as doing namaz. It is this form of religious tolerance or openess that I am referring too.

    Hi Phulkari!

    Sorry, I clearly misunderstood! I have NEVER seen anyone do namaz in the gurdwara, and to be honest, I don’t know if I think that’s entirely appropriate to the purpose of the gurdwara. I guess this is the nebulous gray area between “community space” and “place of worship.” Hmm, I’ll have to think about it more :) I think there are positive elements in sharing community spaces, but I do think it’s important that the gurdwara have a SGGS-oriented purpose. (I certainly wouldn’t stop someone from praying, but at the same time, I don’t know if I could imagine someone preaching, for example, in the hallway). I guess some of my hesitation is in thinking through the logistics, particularly when it comes to other faith communities (I’m not thinking specifically of Muslims, but a bit more broadly).

  13. gulam says:

    seems phulkari is more interested in a dera than a gurdwara. there are plenty of babas seeking followers into their dera. ram rahim would probably want you to do your namaz in the evening, after your catholic confessional, and following your japji sahib and pooja of the his shiv lingam.

  14. gulam says:

    seems phulkari is more interested in a dera than a gurdwara. there are plenty of babas seeking followers into their dera. ram rahim would probably want you to do your namaz in the evening, after your catholic confessional, and following your japji sahib and pooja of the his shiv lingam.

  15. baingandabhartha says:

    our gurudwaras have become places for socialization, exchanging the weeks gossip, staffed by proffessional priests who have no education beyond Sikh rehat maryada (a bunch of made up rules by the SGPC). The core sikh principles can be summed up in 'kirt karo naam jappo and wand chhako' AND Chhardi Kala Sarbat Da Bhala. Rare people practice these in their personal lives. We have become more ritualistic than the most backward hindu brahmin from down home Bihar. We are concerned with turning our back to the Granth Sahib. We put the Granth Sahib to 'sleep' in airconditioned rooms, 'feed' it/him/her, make a fetish of waking it up. But NOT ONCE do I hear any ragi/baba/jathedar type person discuss, the opposition to mindless ritualism so strongly esconced in the Sikh way of life and how we have completely lost the focus on that. We sit down for langar together and five minutes later start talking about jat/bhapa/khatri. We build million dollar gurudwaras while out beloved SGPC, (after being aware for years of killing or abandonement the girl child, finally opened a 11 room house for taking care of abandoned baby girls). The sangat here and in India, who with their economic power could single handedly take care of raising EVERY abandoned girl child, meanwhile builds opulent palaces to worship GOD like mindless little sheep, focused on themselves and asking Waheguru to protect their income/health/family.

  16. baingandabhartha says:

    our gurudwaras have become places for socialization, exchanging the weeks gossip, staffed by proffessional priests who have no education beyond Sikh rehat maryada (a bunch of made up rules by the SGPC). The core sikh principles can be summed up in ‘kirt karo naam jappo and wand chhako’ AND Chhardi Kala Sarbat Da Bhala. Rare people practice these in their personal lives. We have become more ritualistic than the most backward hindu brahmin from down home Bihar. We are concerned with turning our back to the Granth Sahib. We put the Granth Sahib to ‘sleep’ in airconditioned rooms, ‘feed’ it/him/her, make a fetish of waking it up. But NOT ONCE do I hear any ragi/baba/jathedar type person discuss, the opposition to mindless ritualism so strongly esconced in the Sikh way of life and how we have completely lost the focus on that. We sit down for langar together and five minutes later start talking about jat/bhapa/khatri. We build million dollar gurudwaras while out beloved SGPC, (after being aware for years of killing or abandonement the girl child, finally opened a 11 room house for taking care of abandoned baby girls). The sangat here and in India, who with their economic power could single handedly take care of raising EVERY abandoned girl child, meanwhile builds opulent palaces to worship GOD like mindless little sheep, focused on themselves and asking Waheguru to protect their income/health/family.

  17. JSD says:

    I must ad that when it comes to understanding the Sikh faith in the eyes of Islam, it is only Indian Muslims or Pakistani Muslims who seem to understand and have anything to do with Sikhism. In even more detail, the group is smaller when we apply it to only Punjabi Muslims…Sikhism shares similarities with Islam as far as Sufi Islam is concerned but the majority of Muslims are unaware of Sikhism, its views…and we are left with only a minimal population with an understanding. The Islam of the Middle East differs from Indian and Pakistani Islam in some sense, and that leaves the middle east having no understanding of the Sikh faith.

  18. JSD says:

    I must ad that when it comes to understanding the Sikh faith in the eyes of Islam, it is only Indian Muslims or Pakistani Muslims who seem to understand and have anything to do with Sikhism. In even more detail, the group is smaller when we apply it to only Punjabi Muslims…Sikhism shares similarities with Islam as far as Sufi Islam is concerned but the majority of Muslims are unaware of Sikhism, its views…and we are left with only a minimal population with an understanding. The Islam of the Middle East differs from Indian and Pakistani Islam in some sense, and that leaves the middle east having no understanding of the Sikh faith.

  19. Camille says:

    I understand the critique of ritualism in Sikhi (and agree that it's right on), but do you feel this trend is also connected to historic processes? Under the British and post-Partition, there was a strong move away from private learning (often because it was banned) and towards the granthi structure — which, as an aside, I think is inherently against the teachings of Sikhi. As a result, we've moved towards emulating, on a superficial level, the religious structure of religions of the Book without the content behind it. There is a reason every Sikh is supposed to know how to conduct his or her own life, prayers, and learning. The sangat is supposed to be a faith community that helps you refine and continue in your understanding (kind of like a fellowship group) while bringing people together for service, community, and political action.

    Are there institutional barriers that folks feel preclude this activity? I've seen some sangats handle this tremendously (and have participated in sangats who have NO granthis and run their services entirely by themselves), and I've also seen sangats that are super big where the management of the sangat and gurdwara itself trumps investment in religious teaching and education.

    I'm just waiting for the day when we have a Sikh "Khalsa college" in the U.S. aimed towards English-speaking Sikhs.

  20. Camille says:

    I understand the critique of ritualism in Sikhi (and agree that it’s right on), but do you feel this trend is also connected to historic processes? Under the British and post-Partition, there was a strong move away from private learning (often because it was banned) and towards the granthi structure — which, as an aside, I think is inherently against the teachings of Sikhi. As a result, we’ve moved towards emulating, on a superficial level, the religious structure of religions of the Book without the content behind it. There is a reason every Sikh is supposed to know how to conduct his or her own life, prayers, and learning. The sangat is supposed to be a faith community that helps you refine and continue in your understanding (kind of like a fellowship group) while bringing people together for service, community, and political action.

    Are there institutional barriers that folks feel preclude this activity? I’ve seen some sangats handle this tremendously (and have participated in sangats who have NO granthis and run their services entirely by themselves), and I’ve also seen sangats that are super big where the management of the sangat and gurdwara itself trumps investment in religious teaching and education.

    I’m just waiting for the day when we have a Sikh “Khalsa college” in the U.S. aimed towards English-speaking Sikhs.

  21. baingandabhartha says:

    I attend a gurudwara where the sangat is moderate sized but the granthis and raagis are proffessionals. The kids are involved in Kirtan here and thats good. But I rarely see the kids asking or being asked hard questions about why they are there. What does it really mean to be a Sikh. I tried to bring that up once with some of the sangat-got some looks so kept it to myself. Once i tried to suggest that in the true fashion of langar, everyone should clean their dishes instead of throwing away styrofoam by the bagful to poison our environment. Eyes were rolled. Whos got time for that they said.

    I am teaching my daughter gurmukhi myself rather than at the 'punjabi school' primarily because I cant see where the school even tries with older kids to question anything but mindless 'followership'

  22. baingandabhartha says:

    I attend a gurudwara where the sangat is moderate sized but the granthis and raagis are proffessionals. The kids are involved in Kirtan here and thats good. But I rarely see the kids asking or being asked hard questions about why they are there. What does it really mean to be a Sikh. I tried to bring that up once with some of the sangat-got some looks so kept it to myself. Once i tried to suggest that in the true fashion of langar, everyone should clean their dishes instead of throwing away styrofoam by the bagful to poison our environment. Eyes were rolled. Whos got time for that they said.
    I am teaching my daughter gurmukhi myself rather than at the ‘punjabi school’ primarily because I cant see where the school even tries with older kids to question anything but mindless ‘followership’

  23. baingandabhartha says:

    Oh and Camille, I agree that the way of Sikhi is influenced by history, by the British, partition and also in a big way by introduction of 'Royalty' with Ranjit Singh.

    The Sikhs, despite all their protests are slowly becoming like everyone else around them-In India, like their religious ancestors-the Hindus and in the west-like Christians to some degree-e.g the concept of 'Sunday School'.

  24. baingandabhartha says:

    Oh and Camille, I agree that the way of Sikhi is influenced by history, by the British, partition and also in a big way by introduction of ‘Royalty’ with Ranjit Singh.
    The Sikhs, despite all their protests are slowly becoming like everyone else around them-In India, like their religious ancestors-the Hindus and in the west-like Christians to some degree-e.g the concept of ‘Sunday School’.

  25. Phulkari says:

    Camille,

    I completely agree with you!

    I think there are positive elements in sharing community spaces, but I do think it’s important that the gurdwara have a SGGS-oriented purpose. (I certainly wouldn’t stop someone from praying, but at the same time, I don’t know if I could imagine someone preaching, for example, in the hallway).

    I too would not advocate other faiths preaching at the Gurdwara (i.e. it would become a dream come true for Evangelistic Christians). However, I do think the Gurdwara can function as a sanctuary for someone of another faith to pray at [I would not advocate idol worship at the Gurdwara either]. That is why I found the practice mentioned by La Brack really interesting. The Stockton Gurdwara remained SGGS-focused, but also functioned as sanctuary for Panjabi Muslims to do namaz.

  26. Phulkari says:

    Camille,

    I completely agree with you!

    I think there are positive elements in sharing community spaces, but I do think its important that the gurdwara have a SGGS-oriented purpose. (I certainly wouldnt stop someone from praying, but at the same time, I dont know if I could imagine someone preaching, for example, in the hallway).

    I too would not advocate other faiths preaching at the Gurdwara (i.e. it would become a dream come true for Evangelistic Christians). However, I do think the Gurdwara can function as a sanctuary for someone of another faith to pray at [I would not advocate idol worship at the Gurdwara either]. That is why I found the practice mentioned by La Brack really interesting. The Stockton Gurdwara remained SGGS-focused, but also functioned as sanctuary for Panjabi Muslims to do namaz.

  27. Phulkari says:

    Gulam,

    I ask you … do you know the difference between being firm and secure in your faith as a Sikh [which means protecting and providing others a spiritual space to practice their faith as long as they respect your faith] versus practicing all the faiths you mentioned in your comment?

    That difference is the main point of this post.

    It's not about Sikhs practicing all the faiths at Gurdwara, as you seem to incorrectly think I am advocating, but the Gurdwara being a protected and safe space to pray (as long as those praying respect that the Gurdwara is SGGS-focused and there is to be no preaching by other faiths).

  28. Phulkari says:

    Gulam,

    I ask you … do you know the difference between being firm and secure in your faith as a Sikh [which means protecting and providing others a spiritual space to practice their faith as long as they respect your faith] versus practicing all the faiths you mentioned in your comment?

    That difference is the main point of this post.

    It’s not about Sikhs practicing all the faiths at Gurdwara, as you seem to incorrectly think I am advocating, but the Gurdwara being a protected and safe space to pray (as long as those praying respect that the Gurdwara is SGGS-focused and there is to be no preaching by other faiths).

  29. gulam says:

    phulkari

    islams have their mosques, christians have their churches, hindus have their temples, and sikhs have their gurduwaras. noone wntss to share. no one needs to share. let them pray in peace instead of trying to open a dera that pisses everyone off.

  30. gulam says:

    phulkari

    islams have their mosques, christians have their churches, hindus have their temples, and sikhs have their gurduwaras. noone wntss to share. no one needs to share. let them pray in peace instead of trying to open a dera that pisses everyone off.

  31. Kuljit says:

    I think that the practice at Stockton Gurdwara, despite the religious tolerance, is rather a reflection of circumstances of those days. The Indian community was small and powerless, and it was prudent to be inclusive of everyone. At present, even different factions within the sikhs or any other religion, have gained enough numbers that tolerance is not a necessity but a virtue. Therefore it is practised only by a few.

  32. Kuljit says:

    I think that the practice at Stockton Gurdwara, despite the religious tolerance, is rather a reflection of circumstances of those days. The Indian community was small and powerless, and it was prudent to be inclusive of everyone. At present, even different factions within the sikhs or any other religion, have gained enough numbers that tolerance is not a necessity but a virtue. Therefore it is practised only by a few.

  33. Ranjeet Singh says:

    Actually there was a Muslim woman in Singapore who attended the gurudwaras regularly despite the objections of her Muslim husband. She was a family friend. My mother told me she was a rabbabi. Rabbabis it seems are descendant of Mardana who was one of Guru Nanak's companions in his many outings. I was not quite sure if it was true.Maybe someone out there can enlighten me.

  34. Ranjeet Singh says:

    Actually there was a Muslim woman in Singapore who attended the gurudwaras regularly despite the objections of her Muslim husband. She was a family friend. My mother told me she was a rabbabi. Rabbabis it seems are descendant of Mardana who was one of Guru Nanak’s companions in his many outings. I was not quite sure if it was true.Maybe someone out there can enlighten me.

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